Saturday, October 13, 2012

After the Journey in Dallas--Thank you

Dear friends,
A week ago we walked in Dallas.  We had a great turn out at both the dinner at Peace Lutheran Church and the 30 mile walk the next day.  Compared to the walks in Uganda where it is often blistering hot, it was a cold day in Dallas.  The sudden drop in temperature was unusual and unexpected.  While all my Breckenridge friends were rejoicing (they are used to walking in 50 degree weather), I was a little concerned.  A week prior to the walk I had sustained two stress fractures in my left foot.  Every time I put that foot down it required a great deal of concentration and energy.  In spite of the injury I planned to walk all 30 miles or at least as much as my foot could take.  So the cold weather was a complication.  I needed to work twice as hard to keep my body warm, which was going to be a problem with one foot injured.  So you could say I limped a great deal and managed 24 miles before I was finally asked to stop!  Two of my friends from college then took over and ran the last six miles on my behalf—it was a lesson in humbleness!

Trish and Rathees after running the last 6 miles!!
Looking back, I am so grateful for having had an injured foot because it crystallized one beautiful lesson for me—this walk is not about me!  You would think I knew that by heart by now.   The other wonderful experience was that instead of focusing on the pain—and I was in much pain by mile 10—I decided to see other people in the journey.  Usually the walk in Uganda starts from point A to B.  One just keeps going until they reach Kiwoko.  So the only folks I get to see are those that happen to walk alongside me or past me.  The design of the Campion trail was such that we went back and forth and I got to see so many people and also engaged in conversations along the way.  At least 150 people participated in the combined event—a number that far exceeds our previous campaigns.  Those 30 children we paid homage to were well honored and I feel so privileged that I could be part of such an amazing group of people—in that time, in that place, joined in one purpose and voice…to end child sacrifice. I also hope that on that trail, we all had moments to rekindle hope in our own journeys, and to heal.

What a great crew!
There are not enough words to express our thanks to countless folks who were involved in organizing the walk this year and to all our supporters across the country and beyond.
Thank you for looking after every detail behind the scenes.
Thank you for hosting us
Thank you for cooking for us
Thank you for driving and offering your vehicles for the weekend
Thank you to our volunteers who served us at resting points and braved that cold weather from 6Am to 5PM!
Thank you for praying for us
 Thank you for telling other people about Rose’s Journey
Thank you for carrying the 30 victims of child sacrifice and the many missing children in your hearts that day
Thank you for giving us your time on Friday and all day Saturday
Thank you for donating your money and resources towards Rose’s Journey causes.  We know that there are limitless options on how to spend your Friday evening and Saturday and what charities to support.  We are thankful that you choose to trust us with your giving.  We promise to remain fruitful and faithful stewards of these resources.
Thank you for adding your steps and voice and energy to ours!  Folks, I hope that when the shins heal, and blisters are gone, we can still say that the best prize that life offered that weekend was the chance to work at work worth doing…Theodore Roosevelt. 

Now that we have walked…what else do we do…more on blog later…

Work Worth Doing !

One of my professors reminded me of a quote that I hope can help us remember the reasons we are all engaging in Rose's Journey: 
"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to WORK at WORK worth doing” Theodore Roosevelt (emphasis mine). 
Thank you so much to all our supporters and for everyone who walked before and on October 6th in Dallas. Thank you for carrying the 30 victims of child sacrifice including all the unknown, unrecorded victims in your hearts that day and in the days to come. I hope that at the end of 30 miles we can all say--life has offered us a chance to work at work worth doing!!
With gratitude always,

Friday, October 5, 2012

In 5 Hours we will lace up our shoes to walk 30 miles--again!!

Dear friends, tomorrow we walk again in Dallas, TX and I do feel that this journey has become a catalyst for change.  We are miles away from Uganda and my home village, Bamunanika where all this started, and yet, there is a collective voice of folks here who are standing up and saying "enough" to child sacrifice.  I know that my life has evolved somewhat since I decided to retrace the steps I took in 1989 leading me away from  Bamunanika to Kiwoko.  In 2009, I was in Breckenridge for spring break and was telling three close friends about walking 52 kilometers as a teenager.  Causally, one of them suggested I walk again and I spent the whole night tossing and turning and wondering—what would it be like to walk again?  And if I did, for what purpose should I walk?  On July 11th, 2009, with a group of not less than 30 people, we kicked off Rose's Journey from Baminanika, my home village, to Kiwoko.  As it did in 1989, it took us all day to walk.  But this was a different walk.  I walked because a profound truth remains: while I have been rescued from the clutches of witchcraft, there are others!  As we have done so in the last two years, for those children who suffer cruel injustices in Uganda and around the world, we walk tomorrow in Dallas:

Since the start of this campaign in 2009, we have seen progress at different levels: (1) Media coverage by local and international groups has increased. (2) More families have reported missing children even though follow-up on these cases is still lacking. (3) The government as established a Child Sacrifice Task Force (response unit) in Uganda. (4) There has been increasing involvement of National and International NGOs such as the Kyampisi Child Care Ministries in Uganda (, The Jubilee Campaign in the UK ( and the African Network for the Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN) (  Through Rose's Journey and Hope ward, Narrow Road helps to add voice to these organizations and I hope that through this collective effort we can continue to negotiate the cultural and legislative barriers surrounding child sacrifice as well as bolster the awareness campaign with every opportunity we have.

I wrote in 2009 that Child Sacrifice was and still is one of the less championed injustices against children in Uganda. We so easily mistake it to be a normative part of the people's culture. I have been guilty of this, of passing something off as, well, part of the culture as though that makes it alright. It should make us uncomfortable to pass off something heinous as killing a child as a cultural norm! By blanketing it under normative practices that define a certain group of people, we are all looking for a way out.

I still believe that for every Ugandan, this is a responsibility we cannot delegate to the government.  This work needs to be done at every level—individual, communities, national and international
  • Ø  Individuals can spread the word, report crimes, carry out awareness campaigns, and collaborate with educators to teach communities and children about child sacrifice.
  • Ø  Local Council representatives in the community as well as the local police stations should be supportive of individuals who report these crimes and follow through with investigations
  • Ø  Churches and school can allow for dialogs surrounding witchcraft and related rituals
  • Ø  Public health practitioners can engage in health education that addresses cultural norms that are injurious to health.  Nurses can use existing infrastructure for reaching communities through health education: encourage parents to circumcise children and or have ears pierced as a deterrent to being kidnapped for ritual sacrifice.  Mutilated children often need immediate Acute and Long term care—Practitioners should be familiar with available support organisations and make appropriate referrals
  • Ø  Local and international media groups can do so much at spreading the word and putting out alerts for children who have been kidnapped
  • Ø  Community group activists and established local organisations such as Kyampisi Child Care Ministries are often looking for volunteers—be one!
  • Ø  As responsible citizens we need to write to our members of parliament until they start listening
  • Ø  Sign a petition such as the one on the Jubilee campaign website.
  • Ø  Add your voice to the hundreds of other voices speaking out against child sacrifice
  • Ø  Lobby for institutional policies that address witchcraft in work places
  • Ø  Lawyers need to engage in this process to establish clear legislation against these crimes

It is a collaborative effort and I continue to hope that our collective voices will be heard from village to village; from city to city; and from nation to nation.  So tomorrow, friends and supporters here in Dallas will join us in this pilgrimage.  We will also remember a child for every mile we walk.  Their stories are imprinted on our hearts and move us into action.   Thank you for following me on this journey, for telling others about it, and for donating generously to the causes we champion!  

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

30 Miles: 30 Victims of Child Sacrifice: PART 8, 9 & 10: Miles 22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29&30!

Big clap from him: Thank you all for reading these hard stories!
Mile 22: Name: Margaret, B; Age: 10 years old (F); Parents: Undisclosed residents of Katugwe village in Wakiso District.  Incident reported to Wakiso Police Station on Monday January 25th, 2010. On the same day Margaret’s body was recovered from a shallow grave in Kasinini forestry,Katugwe village, Wakiso sub county, Wakiso district.  Part of Margarets' right leg and the whole left arm had been cut off. She also sustained multiple deep cuts on the head and neck.  Margaret had gone missing on Sunday January 24th, 2009.  3 suspects, Sebayiga Charles (alias Maaso-Anna), his wife Annet Nabukulu, and a traditional healer known as Waswa Matia Kyambugu were later taken to court for murder on circumstantial evidence.  Waswa Matia’s trouser and a cap which had some blood stains at the scene were submitted to the government lab for DNA analysis.  Results have not been released: Case is still open...

Mile 23:  Name: CAROLINE Likiso; Age: 8 years old (F); Parents: Father Baallu Onzima Christopher a a resident of Njeru town council, Mukono district. Reported to Njeru Police Station,Buikwe District on the day her body was discovered.  On January 26th, 2010 Caroline's decomposing body was recovered in a bush at Nyanza Quarters in Njeru town council Mukono district.  Her neck had been slit open and her tongue removed.   Caroline had gone missing from her parent’s home on January 22nd, 2010. 3 suspects including Omwata Moses, Betty Omunyat, and Omwata Sam who were the occupants of the neighbouring home where the deceased had disappeared from, were arrested to help in the investigation but were later released following the advice of the Director of Public Prosecution.  The police never pursued any more leads...

Mile 24: Name: DANIEL, Ogule; Age: 6 years old (M); Parents: Okada Patrick and Dolly Ejang of Adero landing site.  Reported to Amolatar Police Station on April 19th, 2010.  Daniels' body was recovered along Lake Kyoga Shores, about 150 meters away from his grand parents' home where he had gone for a visit.  On recovery, Daniels' upper lip and the tongue were missing .  The child had gone missing on April 14th, 2010.  The cut off body parts are suspected to have been taken across the Lake to Nakasongola for ritual purposes.  4 suspects including Daniels', Dolly Ejang, her brothers Apera Tom, and Odur Jimmy, plus a Mr. Orech, friends of Apera, were arrested and charged for murder on May 5th, 2010.  All the suspects were remanded as investigations continue...

Mile 25: CAROLINE, Angenda Berita; Age: 13 years old (F); Parents: Undocumented.  Reported missing on June 30th, 2010 to Palisa Police Station, Palisa District.  On the morning of July 1st , 2010, Caroline's beheaded body was found in the hut where she had been sleeping, alone.  After searching the neighbouring area, Caroline's head was recovered from the bath room of the neighbor, Mr. Akora Charles.  According to the medical  examiner, the victim was also defiled before she was murdered. The police rounded up 7 suspects including: two principle suspects--Akora Chalres--the owner of the bathroom where Caroline's head was recovered, and a Mr. Mukenye Julius a witchdoctor who operated a shrine near the scene.  Both suspects had behaved suspiciously which led to the police arrest. One other suspect, a Mr. Rashid is on the run.  Other suspects were released for lack of evidence.  The main two suspects were later charged with murder.  Some substantial evidence, discovered by Police dog, bed sheets, blood stains and sperm swabs were recovered for analysis by the Government Lab.  Case still open...

Hope, Heal, Empower
Mile 26: Name: JOHN, Mucunguire; Age: 7 years old (M): Parents: Undocumented residents of Nyakabirizi village Kibingo district.  reported to Kibingo Police Station (Case Ref: CRB 683/2011) on July 18th, 2011.  John went missing on July 16th, 2011.  His body was recovered the following day with the head and private parts cut off.  02 suspects were arrested and charged with murder...

Mile 27: Name: ABRAHAM, Natukunda; Age: Undocumented male resident of Nyakakiika village, Kamwenge district.  Case reported to Kamwenge Police Station (Case ref: CRB 602/2011) on May 6th, 2011.  Abraham, who had gone to sell milk in the neighboring village, was recovered dead in a nearby forest with the lungs, heart and private parts missing. One suspect Mugabe Stephen, 28 years old, was charged with murder and aggravated child
trafficking on 19/05/2011

Mile 28: Name: Unknown: Parents: Undocumented: Reported as "Jinja Case, Buwenge Town Council in June 2011."   One child had his head cut off by his maternal Uncle and the head had been used in some ritual evil spirits.  The suspect was lynched to death by the mob.

Mile 29: Name: JEROME, M; Age: 5 years old (M); Parents: Father: Mukwaya Andrew resident of Terego cell, Kimaka Camp Kalong.  Reported toJinja Police Station (Case ref: CRB 1823/09).  On May 5th, 2009 at 1000Hrs, Jerome's body was discovered in a sugar plantation with the private parts cut off and stomach split open a sign that some internal parts were also removed.  Five suspects including the grandfather (a Mr. Hilary) were arrested to assist in investigations and later released on Police Bond following the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions.  No further inquiries were documented...

Mile 30: Name: MOSES, O; Age: 1yr 3mo male; Parents Undocumented; Reported to Gulu Police Station on April 17th, 2009. Moses' body was retrieved from Abera stream, in Paromo Village, Padung Parish, Awach Sub county, Gulu district without the tongue, lips, part of the nose and eyes. Moses had disappeared on April 14th, 2009 from home. 4 suspects were arrested and taken to court. They were remanded in Gulu Prison. One of them died from prison. The rest are still on remand. Case submitted to High court. No hearing date yet...

I have tried to not alter these stories in anyway, so they mostly appear here as they do in the original report.  In writing these stories, I have been tempted to clean up the language and present to you something that is a little easier to digest.  But that would not do justice to the lives of the children on whose behalf we seek an end to this cruel practice.

A complete report can be found here: .  On this page you can also sign a petition to end child sacrifice.  If you live in the UK, please don’t hesitate to browse here for more information on how to engage and support the End Child Sacrifice Campaign.

For more information on Rose’s Journey in Dallas this weekend please see: